Seabury Hall polo player Hana Diller is far from a one-trick pony


Juston Nees

Seabury Hall junior Hana Diller is an accomplished polo player who competes at both the local and national level.

Juston Nees, Staff Writer

On any given Sunday afternoon, you could probably find many Seabury students cramming in their weekend homework that they promised themselves they would do Friday night.

But not Hana Diller, a Seabury Hall junior, who can be found playing a competitive game of polo on the upcountry polo grounds above Makawao.

Diller was born on Maui and has been attending Seabury since her freshman year. She loves to play polo, but she also loves hanging out with friends. Not only is Diller the fun loving social butterfly that we all know, but she is quite the athlete, playing polo and running track.

The game of polo is described by Diller as a combination of hockey and soccer except that the player is mounted on a one thousand pound horse. Thus, the player must establish excellent coordination and skills with the mallet while also controlling the horse.

As if this did not sound difficult enough, now imagine maneuvering around your teammates and the three other players of the opposing team who want to win just as badly as you do.

The sport of polo itself is known for being, difficult to master, time consuming, and very physically challenging

“Polo is six days a week, including games because, just like running, you need to keep the horses in shape for games on Sundays,” Diller stated.

Diller explained her rigorous training humbly with no hesitation or emotion, displaying her passion for the sport. But with rigorous training comes success. Diller and her team placed fourth in 2013 at the United States Polo Association Girls’ National Interscholastic Championship tournament at the University of Connecticut.

Diller has established a reputation for herself as a seasoned veteran of the game of polo. She has played for six years, but she has been on horses since she could remember.

“Honestly, I think it’s one of the most fast-paced sports I’ve ever played in my entire life. I think the fact that everything is going super fast, your brain has to work super fast to anticipate the next play. It’s really thrilling to be on a fast-paced level playing a sport when you’re only 16,” she said.

This fast-paced aspect of the sport is what kept Diller coming back for more, even with her intense schedule.

While some may see a game of polo as a leisurely game being played by people in their late forties, Diller’s comments easily dismiss these stuffy notions, providing proof that polo is one of Maui’s toughest sports.

With this difficulty comes danger and as Hana stated, she has encountered a few injuries in her polo career. One that sticks out in her mind was a concussion that she received about a year ago.

“My concussion was definitely one of my worst injuries. It was a really rainy day and a team from Rhode Island was coming in to play us, and I was going around a turn and I was turning my horse too sharp, and it didn’t have shoes, so it completely slipped out and landed on its side,” she recalled. Diller was still hooked into her horse’s saddle and hit her head again, resulting in a concussion.

“I got back on but my vision was shot, black vision, stars in my eyes, and I had no idea what was happening. But before that I did black out for a minute, maybe a minute and a half, and then when I woke up, I had trouble figuring out where I was, I didn’t have memory of that day, why I was there why I was on the field. I got off randomly during the middle of a chukker and let my horse loose. I actually have trouble remembering this whole day,” she said.

Diller originally displayed some uncertainty trying to pick an injury, and first responding that she wasn’t sure which injury to talk about.

Diller certainly has been through a lot with her polo career, whether it being placing fourth in the country at a tournament to blacking out in the middle of a match.

Hobbs Weymouth, a senior at Seabury Hall, who has played polo with Diller since he was 12 years old, and has known her since pre-school. He is a part of the Maui Polo club, where he has played both against and with Diller. Weymouth is also an experienced polo player, having won the Manoa Cup with Diller on a co-ed team.

“Being there are not a lot of really good girl polo players that stand out, she really stands out for being a high school girl that has the ability she has. She has a lot of potential, if she sticks with it,” Weymouth stated.

While many fellow Seabury students may have seen Diller in the halls socializing with friends or on the track running for the girls track team, as she did freshman and sophomore years, many students may not know about this intense equestrian side of Diller.

This fall, Diller can be found playing polo Sunday afternoons at the polo grounds in Makawao near Oskie Rice Arena. With her successful career so far, Diller could very well be the next famous polo player and many students here at Seabury Hall will be able to say they went to high school with Hana Diller, the polo player.